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Swiss banks start to close accounts of Russian clients

In 2022-2023, Swiss banks closed accounts of Russian clients with less than $1 million. Now, banks are scrutinizing not only the presence of a permit or Swiss passport but also whether clients receive income in Russia and pay taxes there.
swiss banks
Credit: IMD Business School
Swiss banks start to close accounts of Russian clients

Swiss banks have started closing clients’ accounts with Russian citizenship, even if they simultaneously hold a passport of another country, Roman Kudinov, managing partner of the Swiss law firm Leolex said to the Russian publication Vedomosti.

“Several UBS and Credit Suisse clients with dual citizenship have faced this problem,” Kudinov said, noting that all of them pay taxes in Switzerland and do not receive any income or pay taxes in Russia.

Ivan Tikhonenko, head of the banking practice at the law firm Amond&Smith, said that one Swiss bank refused to open accounts for several Israeli citizens who retained their Russian passports. According to Tikhonenko, the banks demanded documentary proof of renunciation of Russian citizenship for further interaction with the firm’s clients.

A source at one of the Russian consulting companies told Vedomosti that another bank closed an account of their client, who holds Russian citizenship and a Swiss residence permit.

In 2022-2023, Swiss banks closed accounts of Russian clients with less than $1 million. The banks also raised the entry threshold to $5-10 million for the remaining new clients from Russia.

After that, wealthy Russians rushed to obtain local residence permits, but now banks are looking not only at the presence of such a permit or even a Swiss passport but also at whether the client receives any income in Russia and pays taxes there.

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